1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Carew

Alexander Chalmers, in General Biographical Dictionary (1812-17) 8:238-39.



RICHARD CAREW, author of the Survey of Cornwal, and brother of the preceding sir George Carew, the ambassador, was the eldest son of Thomas Carew, of East Anthony, esq. by Elizabeth Edgecombe, daughter of Richard Edgecombe, of Edgecombe, esq. both in the same county, and was born in 1555. When very young, he became a gentleman commoner of Christ Church college, Oxford; and at fourteen years of age had the honour of disputing, extempore, with the afterwards famous sir Philip Sydney, in the presence of the earls of Leicester, Warwick, and other nobility. After spending three years at the university, he removed to the Middle Temple, where he also resided three years, and then travelled into France, and applied himself so diligently to the acquisition of the French language, that by reading and conversation he gained a complete knowledge of it in three quarters of a year. Not long after his return to England he married, in 1577, Juliana Arundel, of Trerice. In 1581, Mr. Carew was made justice of the peace, and in 1586 was appointed high sheriff of the county of Cornwal; about which time he was, likewise, queen's deputy for the militia. In 1589 he was elected a member of the college of antiquaries, a distinction to which he was entitled by his literary abilities and pursuits. What particularly engaged his attention was his native county, his "Survey" of which was published in quarto, at London, in 1602. It has been twice reprinted, first in 1728, and next in 1769. Of this work Camden speaks in high terms, and acknowledges his obligations to the author. In the present improved state of topographical knowledge, and since Dr. Borlase's excellent publications relative to the county of Cornwall, the value of Mr. Carew's "Survey" must have been greatly diminished. Mr. Gough remarks, that the history and monuments of this county were faintly touched by Mr. Carew; but it is added, that he was a person extremely capable of describing them, if the infancy of those studies at that time had afforded him light and materials. Another work of our author was a translation from the Italian, but originally written by Huarte in Spanish, entitled "The Examination of Men's Wits. In which, by discovering the variety of natures, is shewed for what profession each one is apt, and how far he shall profit therein." This was published at London in 1594, and afterwards in 1604; and, though Richard Carew's name is prefixed to it, has been principally ascribed by some persons to his father. According to Wood, Mr. Carew wrote also "The true and ready way to learn the Latin Tongue," in answer to a query, whether the ordinary method of teaching the Latin by the rules of grammar, be the best mode of instructing youths in that language? This tract is involved in Mr. Samuel Hartlib's book upon the same subject, and with the same title. It is certain that Mr. Carew was a gentleman of considerable abilities and literature, and that he was held in great estimation by some of-the most eminent scholars of his time. He was particularly intimate with sir Henry Spelman, who extols him for his ingenuity, virtue, and learning. Amongst his neighbours he was celebrated as the most excellent manager of bees in Cornwall. He died Nov. 6, 1620, and was buried with his ancestors, in the church of St. Anthony, where a splendid monument, with a large inscription, in Latin, was erected to his memory. In an epigram written upon him he was styled "another Livy, another Maro, another Papinian," epithets somewhat too high for his real merit. An English translation of "Godfrey of Bulloigne," from Tasso, by him, was published in 1594, 4to. Of this an ample specimen has lately been given in the Bibliographer.